Disabled encouraged to support each other

Disabled people met in Khayelitsha last week for a day of encouragement.

People with disabilities should encourage one another to build their careers and believe in themselves.

This was the message from James Sogaga, chairman of the Qhakaza Disability Group, during a meeting at the Khayelitsha’s Eyethu Multipurpose Centre, last Friday.

More than 100 people attended the day-long event, including representatives from Action SA, Silikhaya Disability Centre, the Nothukela Foundation Institute, and Mosaic.

It was organised by the Qhakaza Disability Group to motivate and encourage disabled people, and during the proceedings, the group gave a wheelchair and new pairs of shoes to those in need.

Living with a disability came with many challenges, but it did not mean you had to put up with discrimination and stigmatisation, said Mr Sogaga.

“For us to be strong, we need to have self belief and confidence,” he said, adding, “We also need houses of our own, something that it is hard to get in this country.”

He encouraged the disabled to use what little government aid they received to make a living for themselves instead of resorting to begging.

“I know it is difficult to live with the meagre disability grant, but to go to the malls and traffic lights to beg should not happen. It is wrong to use disability to benefit. Let us prove to people that we can do things for ourselves. Be proud of yourself, be independent.”

Nothukela Makhohliso, from the Nothukela Foundation Institute, urged those with disabilities to take advantage of opportunities to study to better their lives instead of hoping that the government would do that for them.

“We appreciate the grant that we are getting. But what is the economy of this country? We need to fight for a decent living. We need reasonable accommodation and the right to decent living. We have to stand up,” she said.

Qhakaza Disability Group chairman James Sogaga, left, with Simphiwe Ngxamngxa.